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Ulver Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials album cover
3.31 | 54 ratings | 3 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Let There Be Light (11:24)
2. Western Horn (9:35)
3. Eternal Return (14:08)

Total Time 35:07

Bonus disc on 2014 Japanese release:
1. Eternal Return (rough 2009) (14:05)
2. Fidelio (Experiment 2009) (11:42)

Total Time 25:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Kristoffer Rygg / vocals, ?, co-producer
- Daniel O'Sullivan / guitar, bass, keyboards
- Tore Ylwizaker / programming, ?
- Jørn H. Sværen / ?

Sunn O))) :
- Stephen O'Malley / guitar, effects, co-producer
- Greg Anderson / bass, effects

- Ole-Henrik Moe / viola
- Kari Rønnekleiv / violin
- Stig Espen Hundsnes / trumpet
- Tomas Pettersen / drums
- Attila Csihar / vocals (2.2)

Releases information

Artwork: Alan Friedman with Stephen O'Malley (art direction)

LP Southern Lord - SUNN200 (2014, US)

CD Southern Lord - SUNN200 (2014, US)
2CD Daymare Recordings - DYMC-211 (2014, Japan) Bonus CD with 2 tracks

Thanks to RedNightmareKing for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ULVER Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ULVER Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by frippism
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Deemed by many as the absolute most anticipated semi-pretentious hipster metal album of the year, the collaboration between Norwegian weirdo ambient former metal-heads Ulver, with the ever most terrifying wall of noise that is the drone metal guitar duo Sunn O))), even I was joining the hype. These two bands are practical celebrities of the underground music world, who have inspired and intrigued the world of modern experimental/underground music. I was finally convinced to go ahead and pre-order the thing when I saw its beautiful artwork. "A portrait of our sun, captured in the wavelength of hydrogen alpha light"- sure, whatever dude. But the cover just sucks you right in, and more or less encapsulates the general feel of the album- an eerie, mysterious, though pulsing and violent ambient live improvisation made by two very progressive bands (one of them, sadly, not on this site).

To describe the sound would be a bit difficult. Undoubtedly it attains the subtlety and aurora- like beauty of the later Ulver albums- strong in its ambient colors and its warm melancholic sounds. The great thing about Sunn's presence in the album are the underlying tones they give, the strong guitar feedback which quietly reverberates throughout most of the album. You feel Sunn's presence to be more than cosmetic only after a few listens to the album, but in reality they are responsible for giving out most of the atmosphere here. They do their part and they do it well, often sounding like they are standing away in the not-too-far horizon, dishing out their absolutely brutal walls of distortion in an utmost gentle way. The more traditional sounding instruments do the trick, adding more beautiful textures to the album and giving you something more material to hold on to and to focus on.

The first track- "Let There Be Light" is probably my favorite. The slow build up is beautiful, and the trumpet that comes in really carries this track through all the way to the epic drums that come in towards the end of the track, which are heavy and primitive sounding and take the track to a very satisfying finish. "Western Horn" continues with the... horns, for the most part serving up for a very pleasant listen but it does outstay its welcome a bit. "Eternal Return" also builds up nicely, and ends at the only part with vocals on the album, with Kristoffer Rygg dishing out his instantly recognizable voice. It's a really holy moment when he sings, with a simple yet effective chord progression. The song mellows out slowly, with bits of harpsichord and other weird sounds swimming about before the song sinks to silence.

Overall the Sunn O))) & Ulver collaboration could've been better, longer, somewhat more groundbreaking, but the bands still manage to make a very strong ambient album with positive profound contributions from both bands. It is always a fun listen, with bits that are truly awe-inspiring and beautiful. A good listen for any fans of the band, or anyone who has meaning to try them out. 3.5 I'd say

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Terrestrials

The first time i listened to this album really made a lasting impression on me. I was watching the tv series 'The Pacific' with all it's blood and guts - thinking of past lives as a soldier in numerous wars with swords swinging and guns ablazing......then the commercials came on to ruin my ficticious daydreaming. Buy something!.....and forget about the war! I got mad and frustrated - looked at the coffeetable in front of me, where this beautiful cover art seemed like it was smiling at me. Ahh to hell with it and on the stereo I threw it - after all I had about 7 minutes of wallpaper time to spend, so why not spin what, at the time, was the most anticipated release of the year for yours truly.

Well the 7 minutes came and went and by the time the granades had started to fly in a sea of bullits and young men with fear in their eyes, I still couldn't quite get myself to turn it off and return to the war. Instead I turned the volume way up and kept the tv on mute. Something magical happened. The slow almost oozing nature of the music complemented the images of humanity being trambled under foot. The first track 'Let There Be Light' felt like an ode to humanity. The eerie viola creeping and crawling on it's belly seemed to mimic the wounded American soldier slithering through the bloodstained grasses - just as the feedback of Sunn O)))s guitars very similarly interjected an enigmatic sense of fear into the music. By the time the trumpet emerged like a soft beam of light I felt bruised and old - like an old stone. That trumpet though saved me from the terror by breathing light into the piece. From these dark cauldrons of drones and grainy unsubstantial flutters there was suddenly music, by the flick of the switch, and then it grew exponentially in size and gusto culminating in this beautiful catharthic release with the drums rolling by like a series of rhythmic waves, or subdued thunder. The feel is raw and earthy like brown dirt, and it works wonders together with the incomprehensible nature of the surrounding instruments.

By this time I was very close to a mental breakdown or some kind of grim spiritual orgasm - either way I was seriously contemplating turning either the tv or music off.......but I didn't. The following track 'Western Horn' stopped me dead in my tracks with it's yearning trumpet cry. The battle up on the screen had stopped and grey smoke, broken bodies and a sense of detachment filled the screen as if to underline the horrific silence that always follows the bang. The music was perfect. It captured everything about the scene which can never be expressed in words.

Finishing off this journey, 'Eternal Return' acted like an epilogue to all this madness. The stoic yet lonesome voice of Kristoffer Rygg joins in for the first time, and it couldn't have waited for a more perfect moment than this, where frail hapsichord and those ominous and highly vibrant guitar noises of Sunn O))) really come to the fore. Bookends the album like a day of snow in late August.

This is not an easy album to get into by any stretch of the imagination. I gather I was lucky with my first encounter. I saw the record's 'intentions' instantly - and no it was probably not meant as a dramatic backdraft to a cinematic W.W.ll battle, but the feel of the thing - the stuff between the lines - the mental state you have to be in when approaching Terrestrials - that I got from day one no less.

I keep returning to this record - sometimes it's like witnessing an ancient sun ceremony from the feet of a Mayan pyramid, other times I go back to the war....but each and every time I listen to it I get an experience out of the norm. Terrestrials promises you something earthy just through it's title yet what it delivers zooms right out of the soil and tattooes itself in your least it did in me.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Ulver is the band of the ever-changing genre, and with their 13th album 'Terrestrials', which is actually a collaboration album with the drone band 'Sunn O)))', they continue to prove this. The album was released in 2014 and is comprised of 3 long and live improvised performances that were later enhanced with other studio additions. The music is slow moving, based on the droning quality of 'Sunn O)))' and the experimental style (or non-style) of 'Ulver'.

'Let There Be Light' is based around a drone style that slowly changes chords in a deep, dark background while heavy percussion crashes and a trumpet provides a slow moving improvisation on top of everything. The music builds on a slow crescendo until when it reaches the end, becomes quite majestic.

'Western Horn' has a more unsettling sound beginning with a deep, wavering drone, then other layers start building over the top of this, creating their own droning sound and a wavering metallic texture created by brass and strings. The sound has got an ancient prehistoric vibe to it. Emerging from the thick drone is a higher pitched texture that just wavers on the edge of being able to break away from the increasing wall of sound. This track is carried slowly forward by a sustained chord progression and by another slow crescendo. At almost 10 minutes, it is the shortest track on the album.

'Eternal Return' starts with the deep chiming of a guitar that sounds somewhat distant while a violin and vibe-like keys move along slowly and cautiously. It has an almost lumbering feel to it and the keys, even though they are bright, do not brighten things up much at all. At 7 minutes, the background noise stops and the track enters into a more melodic sound and Rygg sings in sotto-voce, soft and airy while the strings play and the piano churns out slow chords. Later, he sings out more as the melody takes him to higher notes. After 10 minutes, things get a bit noisier and then tapers off to a more ambient, yet discordant style.

Considering the amazing talent of the two bands involved here, you would have high expectations for quite an amazing collaboration, but the expectations never really get reached. You have to be in the right mood to really enjoy this completely, and even though it is good, meditative or trance-like music, it doesn't quite deliver the goods you would expect. Sure you should expect atmospheric, droning and slow moving music, but it seems to be a little aimless and not quite at the level one expects. It is good for the occasional listen, but there are so many other great albums out there, by both bands, that I would choose over this one. The bar is set so high for both bands though and more direction would have gone a long way for this collaboration.

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